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Jenny Jones

Panel Senior Litigator

A guide to making a No Win No Fee damaged or defective bollards accident claim

If a person suffers a personal injury as a result of a damaged or defective bollard, they can look to make a claim for compensation. But who is liable?

Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as short posts used to prevent traffic entering into an area', bollards are commonplace throughout the UK. Damaged or defective bollards are a potential hazard for pedestrians, are dangerous for cyclists and have led to many accidents.

Whether the land is private or council property, the responsibility for the bollard lies with the land owner. If a damaged or defective bollard on their property causes an accident, they could be held accountable.

What type of accidents can occur?

Bollards are often located in car parks and shopping centres, as well as on walking and cycling routes. When in imperfect condition they can become a potential hazard in a number of ways.

Most commonly, a bollard that is broken or knocked over can become a possible trip hazard for both pedestrians and people on bikes. Falls can result, not only in cuts and bruises, but also in head injuries, broken bones or slipped discs.

Injuries such as these can require extensive treatment and have a prolonged recovery time, and people who suffer them have a right to seek compensation.

Establishing boundary lines

For accidents caused by a damaged or defective bollard, one of the first steps in any compensation claim is to establish who owns the land. In order to do this accurately, solicitors can submit a search with the land registry.

Once ownership is established, whether it is a local authority or a shop owner, the next step is to prove that they are indeed liable for the accident.

Occupiers Liability Act' and the Highways Act'

According to the Occupiers Liability Act (1984), an occupier of privately owned land or premises has a duty of care to ensure that they take caution, as is reasonable, to see that a person does not suffer injury whilst on their property.

This requires that they maintain all things within its boundaries and ensure that they are reasonably safe and free from defects. This becomes the occupiers liability'.

The occupier is expected to be aware of any dangers through a reasonable inspection regime, and to take steps to ensure they do not injure another person. It is not expected they fix that problem immediately, but that they at least give warning, for example with a sign or notice, so an accident can be avoided.

If an accident occurred through negligent behaviour whilst warning signs were noticeably in place, they may avoid liability.

For public or local authority owned property this setting out of liability is covered in the Highways Act (1980).

Personal injury claims

If an accident involving a broken or defective bollard causes personal injury, the injured party is permitted to make an occupiers liability claim if it was not their fault. The success of the claim will depend on whether or not liability can be placed on the owner of the land responsible for the bollard.

Speaking to a legal expert is recommended. They will be able to assess whether or not there is a case.